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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Soon: Israel-Hamas Brief Truce Begins In Hostage Deal; Pope: Israel-Hamas Conflict Has Gone "Beyond Wars"; Israel Preparing To Release 150 Palestinian Prisoners. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 23, 2023 - 21:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: I'm Kaitlan Collins, live in Tel Aviv, Israel. This is a Special Edition of THE SOURCE, tonight.

Because in just three hours from now, we expect, to see the most significant break, in the intense fighting that has been happening, between Israel and Hamas, in 47 days.

A temporary pause is slated to begin at Midnight Eastern, 7 AM local here, following weeks of painstaking negotiations that have happened behind-the-scenes, and a final burst of bombs, flying across the border, tonight.

This carefully-brokered deal that is happening, this agreement between Israel and Hamas, is supposed to mean that at least 50 hostages, women and children, we are told, will be able to go home, for the first time, since the October 7th attacks. Israel, in exchange, has promised to free 150 Palestinian prisoners, women and minors, who have been in prison, in jails here, in Israel.

There's another critical piece of this deal as well. And that is humanitarian aid, for Gaza. We're told that some 200 trucks, carrying relief supplies, and four fuel trucks are lining up, at the Rafah Crossing, preparing to go into Gaza, where they are so desperately needed.

In the hours, leading up to this very temporary truce, we were told, we are still watching signs that this war is still very hot, as the Israel Defense Forces claim, tonight, that they have taken a senior Hamas commander, off the battlefield. They say there's been about 100 of those in total that they have killed, after what they say is a targeted strike, that has happened, in Gaza, tonight.

More on what is happening, and what the next few hours could look like, as we closely monitor this, CNN's Matthew Chance is here, live with me, in Tel Aviv.

And what we know is the broad outlines of this deal. And really, we'll just see what happens, once it starts to play out is. This technically starts at Midnight Eastern. But we're not going to see hostages coming across right then. What do we expect that to look like?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's not going to happen till much later, in the day, until at least 4 o'clock local time. So, some hours -- some hours afterwards is when the Israelis believe, or expect, the first hostages to start coming out.

And that's because it's logistically very complicated. Of course, Hamas and the other Palestinian militant groups that maybe holding Israelis, and other hostages, inside Gaza, have got to kind of assemble them, in the right place.

It's going to -- they've got to be transferred, across the border, from Gaza, into Egypt, to the Rafah border crossing, and then checked by the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and before they're handed over into Israeli hands.

And so, there's all sorts of steps, moving parts, in that operation that could be delayed, and even derail --


CHANCE: -- this thing as well.

One point I want to make is that the Israelis say that they won't release any Palestinian prisoners, from Israeli jails, until they've got the 13 Israeli citizens, in their hands.


CHANCE: They're not going to start releasing Palestinian prisoners, until they know that those Israelis are safe. And that's just, I think, an indication, of just how little trust, the Israelis have, at the moment that this is going to go without any problems.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, and just recently, they finally found out what those 13 names were going to look like.

And we've talked a lot about Hamas, and how they can use this 96-hour period of no fighting, in Gaza, to rebuild. But we just heard, from the IDF spokesperson, saying that their troops will be moving around as well.


How could Israel use this period, to also help prepare, and kind of replenish what's happening what they're doing, in Gaza?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, Israel have been very reluctant to undertake this pause. They described it as very painful, because they are concerned that Hamas will use it as an opportunity, to regroup, and to put itself in more defensive positions.

But, I mean, look, I mean, I suspect there are sort of all sorts of ways, that the Israeli military, which is very technically -- technologically capable? It's got powerful allies, like the United States as well, with very powerful observation capabilities, from satellites and things like that. Perhaps, they will use this as an opportunity, to try and gather more intelligence, on where the hostages may be being held.

Because even at the end of this process, if 50? We're talking about at least 50 people, probably getting out, women and children, that's the terms of the deal at the moment, could be more than that. But even if 50 come out, it's still going to be 190 left there.


CHANCE: And the Israelis have made it quite clear, they want everybody out. And if they can't do it through negotiation, they're going to try and do it through other means.

COLLINS: It's a good point.

Matthew Chance, thank you. We'll continue to talk to you, about all of this, as this is going on.

Of course, we're watching all this closely. There's still so much we don't know. This is an unprecedented deal that we're about to see play out.

But for more perspective, on what it could look like, I want to speak to the former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who is also the Ambassador-in-Residence at the Atlantic Council. Of course, great perspective here.

Ambassador, when you look at this, and what we're about to see, in these next few hours, what are you watching for?

MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Good evening, Kaitlan. Good to be with you.

I'm watching for whether Hamas will again, move the football. Keep in mind, Hamas is a terrorist organization that does not negotiate in good faith. And Hamas not only engages in physical terror, it engages in emotional terror. Even releasing these hostages, in this tranche, this group of 50, is going to drive deep emotional wedges, in Israeli society, which is what Hamas wants to do.

Beside the fact there'd external strategic ramifications of this, and it's been mentioned by several of your commentators already, that restarting the war, after the hiatus of five days, will not be simple, for the State of Israel. It'd be difficult. And it's going to increase the pressure of all these other families whose loved ones weren't released.

So, Hamas is very much playing a interesting and moving-the-football type of strategy, which we've known for many times before. And Hamas has broken every ceasefire, it's ever agreed to, including the ceasefire that existed, on October 7th. There was a ceasefire then too, right before that. So, we have to keep that in mind and watch for that.

I think there's one point, though, that hasn't been made strongly enough here.


OREN: Let me stress it. And that is that this hostage exchange is happening because of the pressure that Israel has put on Hamas. It would not have been possible before that, without the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, in the sense that Hamas is under a very difficult situation, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

And the sense I will look for is the way that Hamas is now going to exploit those six hours, when Israel won't have drone eyes, on the ground, Hamas will probably move fighters, from the north, into the south, and prepare for the next stage of the battle.

COLLINS: What do you think it says about Hamas' current state of operations that they did agree to this deal, because obviously, having the hostages is what has given them leverage here.

OREN: Well the leverage cuts two ways. That was Israel's ground forces, also has leverage on Hamas.

I mean, keep in mind, these fighters aren't really coming out of their tunnels. They come out occasionally. They fire an RPG, or they fire an anti-tank rocket, then they go away. They go back in. Because it's not easy to be underground for six weeks. And they want to use this time, to rearm, to reorganize, to reposition many of their fighters.

And let's be clear about this. This hostage exchange, we are going to gain the lives of these hostages.

But it's also going to cost us, in terms of our lives of the soldiers, who will have to go into a battlefield, presumably after the end of five days, which has far more booby traps in it. And we'll have to eventually go into the south, which is going to be very complicated, because of the great number of Palestinians, who have been moved to the south. Think about how vastly complicated that's going to be.

And again, I stress that there's going to be international pressure, and domestic pressure, to extend the ceasefire, which from Israel's perspective, means close to death, because it means that Hamas gets away with mass murder. And it means that Israel can't restore its internal security.

We have 250,000 internal refugees, Israelis who have moved away from the border, who won't be able to go back to the border, if Hamas does what it pledges to do, which is to rearm and to launch second, third and fourth strikes, against Israel. That's what their own leaders say.

So, it's an extremely delicate situation. And I would expect Hamas to continue to negotiate in bad faith, and be prepared for that.

COLLINS: Obviously, the families here are grateful, regardless of what's happening, that their loved ones will be coming home. They know it's not all of them. But at least 50 of them have hopes, tonight, that it could be their loved ones. That's at the center of this.

[21:10:00] But the way you're talking about this, tactically speaking, on the battlefield, what this is going to mean, who benefits from this deal more? Hamas or Israel?

OREN: I don't think that's the word -- I don't think the word "Benefit" really fits here.

Israel has to counterbalance two fundamental interests. One is restoring the security of the state.

And the other is keeping its promise, to the people of Israel, that no matter where they are, if they fall prisoner, God forbid, Israel will do anything to get them back. You remember the Entebbe raid, back in 1976. That was an example of that, Israel willing to do everything, go more than the last mile, to rescue hostages.

So, these -- they're trying to counterbalance these two, from Israeli perspective, sacred objectives of the state. So, we want to get the hostages back. But we also need to restore security, including deterrence power.

Because the impression could be given to our enemies, in the region, typically, the Iranians, that you can strike Israel with impunity. But when Israel goes to defend itself, there'll be a ceasefire slapped, on Israel, and tie its hands, and Israel will not be able to defend itself. So, that's extreme strategic danger, I would go so far as to say it's an existential danger.

Last point, Kaitlan, that is, let's be very clear about this that Israel cannot negotiate the end of all the hostages. As precious as these hostages are, coming home to their families, Hamas will hold on to them. Because if Hamas gives up the last hostage, Israel then can, say, flood the tunnel system -- the 300 miles of tunnels, with seawater. That's what the Egyptians have done, in the past. And it would eliminate Hamas.

Their chances are maybe they'll hold on to a few hostages, to sort of a get-out-of-Gaza-free-card, and maybe exchange their retreat from Gaza, on some boat, such as the PLO did in -- from Beirut, in 1982, in exchange for the last hostages. It would be a good outcome. That would be beneficial.

COLLINS: Yes. They've obviously completely used them as leverage.

And Ambassador, before I let you go, I just want to ask you, on a different but still related note. It's Thanksgiving, in the United States. A lot of people have been spending the day with their families. They may be sitting around a table, right now, listening to this conversation.

You recently wrote an Op-Ed, talking about how anti-Semitism is coming up, and what that conversation looks like, this year, and how, you say, it's changed a lot, but not really that much, when you look at the conversation. I wonder what you think those conversations should look like, at Thanksgiving tables, tonight? OREN: Excellent question. Just before I came on this show, I learned that the house of my good friend, Mike Tuchin, in Los Angeles, he's the 8th (ph) President of AIPAC, was attacked by Hamas supporters. He and his wife were inside the house. And I'm waiting for word, on their condition.

So, this is not just a matter of discomfort. It's a matter of physical fear of being attacked. And that was the conversation around Thanksgiving tables.

Now, if you would go back a few years ago, and there'll be a conversation about anti-Semitism, there'll be a big division, among American Jews, and what -- how you define anti-Semitism.

Is hatred of Israel, anti-Semitism? Not criticism of Israel. But saying Israel doesn't have the right to exist, or Israel should be wiped off the map, or that, "From the river to the sea, Palestine should be free," means erasing the State of Israel?

Today, that debate's over. Everyone understands that, that when pro- Hamas, the demonstrators, say "Gas the Jews," or "Bring them back to Auschwitz," it's not a question now that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism.

And in the past, it was a big question, about how to actually defend the Jewish community, whether you could sit down and talk to these protesters, and maybe convince them, and tell them about the Holocaust. I think that debate has also been resolved.

For people, who are chanting to throw the Jews back into Auschwitz, or gas them, I don't think you're going to have much of an educational moment with them. And they have to be resisted, by legal means, by legislative means, any means you can shortly -- should be peaceful means.

But the -- that the American Jewish community has to defend itself. I've spent some time on American campuses, on with Columbia students, Clint -- Cornell students. They're living in fear. And I have never -- I couldn't have imagined a moment like this. It's quite terrible. But they have to fight back. They understand that. And there's a sense of really, sort of being besieged, and it's frightening, I must tell you, honestly.

COLLINS: Yes. And it's a lot of conversation, students, returning back after the break, will be having.

Ambassador Michael Oren, as always, thank you, for your time.

OREN: Have a good holiday. Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, we'll also speak live, with a former FBI agent, who specialized on working on these kinds of hostage cases, overseas. His view, why he believes the risk of the mistakes here, is incredibly high.

Also, an adviser to the 2020 Abraham Accords will also join me. Why he believes that peace between all sides is not as far-fetched a reality, as you might think?

This is CNN's special live coverage.



COLLINS: In just a few hours from now, the first hostages, being held by Hamas, could be on their way home.

So, what will that transfer process actually look like? Obviously, it's going to be quite complicated. But where did these women and children, who are expected to be the first ones, out of Gaza, out of Hamas' captivity, where do they go?

Joining me now is the former FBI agent, Robert D'Amico, who has worked on hostage cases, overseas, in his career, so obviously the best perspective on this.

And Rob, let's just start with how much of a test, do you think that the first day here is going to be, for future swaps?

ROBERT D'AMICO, FORMER FBI AGENT, WORKED ON HOSTAGE CASES OVERSEAS: Oh, it's huge. As this, I call this, a moment of trust. You don't have that trust, on either side of it. But during the actual exchange, you have to trust each other, quite a bit.

It's complex. There's so many things that could go wrong, even without any ill effect on either side, if you have a faction not wanting to happen. We've tried to do hostage exchanges, and even couldn't find them, with the helicopter, and trying to narrow it down, before weather came in.


But this one's going to take a lot of trust, to move that many people, through an area that's a part of war. Hamas isn't going to want them to be able to be tracked, where they came from. I'm sure, they'll come to a central point, where they gather them, and then move them to a point that they've agreed on. And same thing with the Israel -- the Israeli prisoners that are going to be coming out.

But it is a tremendous task. And the first one is going to be extremely difficult, a lot of heightened tension, on either side. It will go down a bit, with each one. But even a smallest error, between them, can have that spin out of control, as far as losing trust.

COLLINS: How much does it -- heard that it's not a direct line of communication, between Israel and Hamas. I mean, this is all being mediated through the Qataris.

D'AMICO: So, I've done a couple of these.

One, actually, I ended up having, where -- I was going through a senior Qatari, that we're, again, moving some military folks, to recover a prisoner, held by the Taliban. And it got so complicated that the Qatari had to flip his cell phone, so, I was talking straight to the Taliban commander, because we couldn't find them.

We had to lower the Predator, to look for them. And then, they felt we're going to shoot them. They had machine guns. So thank goodness, we had some communication, to talk each other down.

The second one, almost four years ago, to today, November 2019, we exchanged Professor King and Weeks, two professors that were kidnapped, from Kabul, for the Haqqani three. And that one was a bit different. And we had to give our side up the three first, before they even released theirs.

And it got to, one point, we actually had a, they're out, going out to the airplane, and we had to pull them back, at the last second because something fell through. It didn't hurt. We did it the next day. But it was still a complex scenario. There's so many middle people involved, to get word back and forth. But that was through the Qataris too.

So again, the trust factor, the Qataris talking to Hamas, us talking to the Qataris, since we've done it before with them, I think that helps a bit.

COLLINS: So, what is, if you're a hostage, and you are one of the first ones, who's being released, what does that reintegration period look like?

I mean, obviously, they're going to need medical exams. They want to be reunited with their families. But, I mean, these are people, who have been deeply traumatized, for 47 days, now. What does that look like?

D'AMICO: Yes. So, it's, the reintegration, we call it these -- bringing them back in, the first thing is medical.

So, I'm sure with this many, at this one time, that they're going to have something set out, where they come in. And there's going to be a medical team, for each person. I think the first are going to be 13 people. Don't know who, don't know ages and stuff. But there's going to be a medical team, probably for each person.

Along with that medical team is going to be, hopefully, a psychologist. The FBI has a psychologist on there, the Victim Assistance folks that usually comes forward, at least to a middle ground. We'd usually move them to Germany, where there's a whole team set up, at the military base there, in order to reintegrate them. And then the psychologist starts actually dictating what's allowed.

We didn't even have agents, who are Intel folks, talking to them, without the psychologist there, because of all the stress that they're going through. We want to get information, from them, to help with other hostages, and other things. But their physical and mental health is more important. And that psychologist that's assigned to them is the one really dictating.

I've seen some prisoners. I debriefed. He was actually Pakistani. And he'd been held for five years by the Taliban. I debriefed him, for about five hours, before we sent him back. And he had me laughing. I couldn't believe how much sense of humor he remained, after five years. He had a great outlook.


D'AMICO: He was making jokes, and really coming around. That was incredible.

COLLINS: That is remarkable. I mean, your insight on this is so fascinating. And obviously, we're thinking of all of these, who are going to be released.

Robert D'Amico, thank you, for joining us. And happy Thanksgiving.

D'AMICO: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

COLLINS: We're learning new details, on what to expect, not just when the release of these hostages is happening, but also on the battlefield. What is that going to look like, once this temporary truce begins?

Plus, why the Pope says this conflict, in his view, has gone "Beyond war." He is now calling it terrorism. More on those comments, just ahead.



COLLINS: As we lead up to this deadline, of when this temporary truce is set to begin, Israel has been heavily bombarding sites, throughout Gaza, today, in these hours before that. They are expected to have a full stop, in the fighting, once we hit that Midnight Eastern deadline. That is 7 AM, here local.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, hours before that pause in fighting is set to go into effect, the Israeli military is continuing to pummel the Gaza Strip.

We have been watching, over the last several hours, as there have been significant explosions, bombardments, of key areas, in northern Gaza, where we know that Israeli forces have been operating, in recent days, including the Jabalia refugee camp, as well as the town of Beit Lahia. This is the area, where we've watched several large explosions.

We've also heard outgoing artillery fire, from near our position, and also machine gunfire, indicating potentially active battles, between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

Of course, the Israeli military has made very clear, that they intended to continue carrying out their military operations, up until the time, when that truce goes into effect. An Israeli Defense Forces spokesman, in fact, saying that it was business as usual, in the hours, until that expected pause in fighting, goes into effect. [21:30:00]

But if everything goes according to plan, at 7 AM local time, we will see that pause in fighting. And several hours later, around 4 PM, in the afternoon, is when we are expecting to see the first Israeli hostages, cross into Israel, from the Gaza Strip.

13 hostages expected to be released, in that first day. We don't yet know their identities. But the process, effectively, they are set to be handed over, to the Red Cross, by Hamas, initially, and then from there, will be handed over to Israeli forces.

Some of those hostages will be met, by their families, near the Gaza border. Others will meet them at the hospitals, where they're expected to undergo medical evaluations, and then also be able to be reunited, with their families.

Of course, Qatari officials have said that they hope that this process, effectively, over these next four days, of a pause in fighting, in exchange for the release of 50 Israeli hostages, as many as 150 Palestinian prisoners, in that same period of time, Qatari officials hope that this will be just the beginning of that process, that more hostages could be released down the line. And they also hope that it could be potentially a vector, for a broader pause, in the fighting.

Although Israeli officials have made clear, once this pause is done, they intend to continue this war, to carry out their objective, to destroy Hamas, and remove it from power, in Gaza.


COLLINS: Jeremy Diamond, in Sderot, thank you for that report.

Joining me now, with perspective, on the latest diplomatic efforts, that we are seeing here, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, an adviser to the 2020 Abraham Accords, that normalized Israel's relations with the UAE and Bahrain.

Jeff, I'm so glad to have you here tonight. And I want to get your take on something that is causing quite a stir that people have been looking at.

And that is after Pope Francis, met with Israeli families, and Palestinian families, separately. It was Israeli families, I should note, whose loved ones are being held hostage, by Hamas. This is what he said, following those meetings.


POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, BISHOP OF ROME & SOVEREIGN OF THE VATICAN CITY STATE (through translator): This morning, I received two delegations, one of Israelis, who have relatives held hostage, in the Gaza Strip, and another of Palestinians, who have relatives imprisoned in Israel. They suffer so much. And I heard how both sides are suffering. This is what wars do. But here, we have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism.


COLLINS: Jeff, what do you make of him saying this is terrorism?

JEFFREY SONNENFELD, FOUNDER & CEO, THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE, FORMER POLITICAL ADVISER: Well, I don't know who he was pointing the fingers at. If he's pointing it at all sides, I'm not one, who wants to violate a doctrine of infallibility, for papal decrees. But I'm not one to be following the Pope's decrees to start with.

I think he's a wonderful person, a brilliant theologian, and, of course, an extraordinarily inspiring world leader of faith.

However, another man of faith, Reverend Andrew Young had reminded us in one of our sessions, of course, a former congressman, U.N. Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, that you never call a person, with an alcohol problem, a drunk, is that going around pointing fingers, and using slogans and insults is not going to resolve a problem.

As that the plight of the aspirations of the Palestinians has gone back generations, has to be addressed. And the sense of security for the existential survival of Israel has to be addressed.

The -- I don't know that we had the voice of the church, so clear, in World War II, when there certainly was a more clear a battle of good and evil.

I don't think that that his pointing fingers, right now is, and using this terminology, has -- is bringing people together. So perhaps, on more reflection, he could expand on this further.

But yes, I would move past that language, and talk about how to actually bring people together, something we actually did here, at Yale, without any papal authority.

We managed to bring the first top Arab official, and first top Israeli official, last week, together, here, on campus with hundreds of students, 80 scholars, theologians and clergy, to talk about common problems, to recognize you don't have to agree with everything, to have mutual respect and understanding.

With so many of the Ivy League schools, and other schools caught up in anger and finger-pointing, instead, we figured out, we could talk to one another, and take a look at some mutual areas of interest and some problem-solving.

COLLINS: Well, and Jeff, you called that event, you -- I believe you described it as a leap of faith. What stood out to you, about that leap of faith, as you described it?

SONNENFELD: Well, thanks. And we did have every faith, every major faith representative. We had some 20 different theologians. [21:35:00]

Many universities seem to be missing the moment. Either, they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. And if a university official says the wrong thing, well they can learn and correct it, and show that they too are capable of learning, along with our students. So, they shouldn't be afraid to be accountable.

But Elie Wiesel, the great Holocaust survival and -- survivor and philosopher said that "Silence in the face of evil is complicity." So, it's important, for the universities, to take positions, to speak and bring people together. So, in bringing them together, we frankly follow the leadership, of our own students.

There's a Middle Eastern North African group and a Jewish students association that came together.

You had a report, earlier in the evening, on CNN that showed a difficulty in Cornell, because of the ways the polarization has gone there. They couldn't bring student groups together.

We fortunately had student groups here, who showed us the path to follow. And that's what we did. We had the United Arab Emirates ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, together with Ambassador from Israel. And that was -- who was Michael Herzog, whose father is sixth president and his brother is the current president, they didn't agree on everything.

But we did find that we could talk about some common ground. And we had students from -- Palestinian students, and students from Kuwait, and from Dubai, and from Israel. We had plenty of Jewish students from Israel.


SONNENFELD: But we also had Arabs, from Israel, asking questions, as part of this dialog, and that nobody had to be throwing food or chairs at one another, to have this comfortable dialog, and find out where is there some possible common ground.

H.L. Mencken once complained that old universities, like ours, tend to teach living languages, as if they were dead, and dead languages, as if they're alive. We thought we should talk about lively issues, and not just leave everything into the dust balls of libraries, talking about these critical issues.


SONNENFELD: And I think that perhaps the Pope is going to open up a dialog, like this.

But it was very helpful, having the uplift, spiritual uplift. And theologians, we had a very had a very common emblem (ph) come in.

COLLINS: What --

SONNENFELD: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

COLLINS: What we've seen Jeff is that is obviously not a given, these days.

Jeff Sonnenfeld, thank you so much, for your time, tonight.

SONNENFELD: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, who are the 150 Palestinian prisoners that are set to be released, from Israeli jails? Their identities are now being revealed. We'll take a closer look.



COLLINS: The truce between Israel and Hamas, that temporary one that is expected to begin Friday 7 AM Local, Midnight Eastern, we are told 13 civilian hostages will -- are expected to be released, by Hamas, after that, in that time period.

What we're hearing from Israeli officials is that 39 Palestinian prisoners will be released, as part of that exchange.

Joining me now, to discuss what that could look like, what we're learning about this, CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Kim Dozier.

Kim, we've had a lot of talk, about these 13 Israeli hostages.

But these 39 Palestinian prisoners, we are told that they're made up of women and male teenagers, who are up to the age of 18. What else do we know about them?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, we know that none of them were convicted of the crime of murder, and that they were more likely convicted of -- out of the 150, that could be chosen, offenses like throwing rocks, at Israeli soldiers, quote-unquote, "Inciting violence" against Israel, the kind of things that Israelis were less likely to object to.

Because, of course, there was a 24-hour period, after the Israeli cabinet approved of this measure, that the families, Israelis in general had to appeal the decision of hostage releases, and none of prisoner releases. And there were no appeals, to my knowledge, to stop this process.

So, should everything go, according to this very complicated plan? The exchanges should start Friday, local time. I guess that's going to be 9 AM East Coast time, back here in Washington, D.C. And we'll see if --


DOZIER: -- with every day, if they get to the full four days, and possibly beyond that. COLLINS: What Matthew Chance was saying, is that Israel is not going to release any of those 39 Palestinian prisoners, until they know that those 13 hostages have actually been handed over.

But to dig in deeper on this, on the 8,000-plus Palestinian prisoners that we know are being held, more than 3,000 are being held on what Israel says, what they call administrative detention. That means they're being held without knowing the charges against them, without an ongoing legal process.

Can you just explain, for people, who aren't very familiar with, if this is the standard, if this is normal, why they're in Israeli custody?

DOZIER: They can be held in Israeli military -- sorry, in Israeli prisons, for everything from well, breaking the incitement laws, which could be tweeting, something in support of Hamas, everything, all the way up to throwing a rock, at a soldier, at a checkpoint, or worse, throwing a Molotov cocktail, at a soldier, which is considered escalating to violence, because a Molotov cocktail can kill.


But this idea of freedom of expression, getting cracked down upon, is even worse now, post October 7th. Both Palestinians, and Israelis, on the left, have been complaining that they feel like anything they say could get them thrown into jail.

The other thing that could happen is the Palestinians say that the Israeli legal system frequently rules against them. For instance, if their house is in a location that Israeli settlers have decided to claim, and they win in Israeli court, if the Palestinian tries to stop the takeover, they end up getting jailed.

COLLINS: Yes, a lot of questions and insight into that, as we're watching, what is expected to be the release of 150, potentially 300.

Kim Dozier, thank you very much.

DOZIER: Thanks.

COLLINS: Up next, we'll go inside the bombardment, in Gaza that is still happening, up until that deadline. One woman shares her video diary, showing how Palestinian civilians are desperately hoping the nightmare they're living through, is coming to an end.



COLLINS: Turning now, to the humanitarian crisis, in Gaza. Civilians have been begging the world, to pay attention to their plight.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has our report tonight.

I do want to warn our viewers, before you see this, some of the images that you're about to see here are disturbing.



JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Life before the wars felt like a distant memory, for video blogger, Ayat Khaddoura.

They were the days when she'd smile, in her videos, taking her followers, behind-the-scenes, of her work, in Gaza.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): For weeks now, her posts have been about life, at a time of war.

KHADDOURA (through translator): We now wake up at 5 AM, to queue for bread. We now walk more than six kilometers to fill up a gallon of salty or fresh water. We charge our phones, on the streets, using the solar power, we can find. We crave our favorite foods. But there's no power, no gas, or water. So, we have to make do with canned foods.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Ayat showed people how Gazans survive. Neighbors sharing the little they have to bake bread in clay ovens. And at times, it was about how close death felt, as bombs rained down, on Gaza.

KHADDOURA (through translator): This might be my last video. They dropped leaflets, asking people to evacuate the area. Most people fled. People were running in the streets, like crazy. Not knowing where to go. The situation is terrifying. God have mercy on us.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): As the war intensified in the north, Ayat didn't leave. The safety they were told to evacuate to, in the south, was an illusion. Nowhere in Gaza is safe, she said.

KHADDOURA (through translator): Death and destruction is everywhere in Gaza. The Occupation has no mercy, on anyone, not the elderly, not the children, not the women, no one. All civilians are under fire, in Gaza. Where are the decision-makers? Where's the world? Gaza is being annihilated.


KHADDOURA (through translator): We are dying. Someone do something, enough.



KARADSHEH (voice-over): But these desperate cries of so many, like Ayat?


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Haven't stopped this seemingly endless nightmare, for the people of Gaza, where burying their dead has become their every day, where every moment feels like it may be their last.

On Monday, it was Ayat, killed along with other family members, in a night of intense bombardment, of Beit Lahia. Her last video, the haunting words of a 27-year-old, with a final message, from Gaza, to the world.

KHADDOURA (through translator): We're humans. Like everyone else, we had big dreams. Now, our dream is if we are killed, we are a body in one piece, so we can be identified, buried in a grave, not body parts in a bag.


KHADDOURA (through translator): When will this war end? Who will remain to tell people what happened to us? What we lived through? What we've witnessed?

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


COLLINS: Just a devastating report, from Jomana, but important to hear. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you for that.

For more on what is happening, inside Gaza, what could be to come, with this aid that is on the way, I want to bring in international journalist, Rula Jebreal.

Rula, thank you for being here.

As we're hearing what I think is kind of an undernoted aspect of this deal, which is a surge in humanitarian aid that's expected to go into Gaza, can you just walk us through how desperately needed that is, right now?


It's not only desperate. It is, at this point, it's about survival. In the last 45 days, Gazans been, they were starving. They had no food, no water.

The level of consumption of water, people were consuming water that unfit for human consumption. Children, babies that just been born they were drinking dirty water that is contaminated. We're looking at the worst humanitarian catastrophe, since the war in Yemen. And that war was -- took place for years. Here, we're talking about 45 days.

And the strange (ph) thing, and also the most heartbreaking things, Kaitlan, is that in the last poll of Gazans, 70 percent of Gazans wanted a peaceful two-state solution. And the overwhelming majority actually rejected Hamas. Today, they are collectively punished, because of the action of Hamas.

So, you're seeing a civilian population, overwhelming majority of them, children, dying at a rate that we've never see, and those who are alive, starving to death.


COLLINS: Well, and just to hear from that young woman, in Jomana's report, who was saying, "What we hope for is that if we die, we die in one piece, so our families can identify us." I mean, the heartbreaking reports that we're getting, coming out of Gaza.

Do you think the concerns that we're hearing now, about diseases, and this becoming a more of a humanitarian catastrophe, in that sense not only from the hostages, the IDF soldiers, who are going to be there, but also just from the people, who are living there, and what that could turn into, if there is not enough aid brought in?

JEBREAL: I think before the war, they needed 500 trucks a day. What -- the discussion now, they will basically allow couple of hundreds of trucks a day. But you have a besieged population of 2 million people that are already starving. That aid is a drop in the pocket. It's nothing.

I listened to the U.N. -- to the head of U.N. Relief Agency. And he covered the war in Cambodia. And he said Gaza is even worse than the killing field in Cambodia. And he said, basically, it's a carnage. It's a total utter carnage.

What we're looking at, as people who observed wars, and cover wars, not only the people who died, but people who are injured, and don't have access to medication or water, to clean, but also the many bodies, that are buried. And supposedly, there are thousand. They've stopped even counting.

So, you will have a situation, where you will start hearing, about serious diseases that they never had, in that area, because of the fact that they are not allowed to, are there -- because of the bombardment, they are not capable of retrieving the bodies.

I mean, today, from the Shifa Hospital, hundreds of bodies were buried, in mass graves. I mean, for the first time, we're looking at a small stretch of land, where the human population, 50 percent of them are children, are the one that will start dying.

And the sad fact that even if there will be a ceasefire, five or six days, or even eight days, the ultimate goal that Israel said, they will continue resuming bombardment. And that means "We will feed them for a couple of days, six, five days, but ultimately, they will be -- they will be bombarded again."

And I think there should be international pressure, to put on the table, a solution that saves civilian population. The South is not safe. Israel will not allow them to go to the West Bank, or the occupied territories of the West Bank. And thus, it's incumbent of the international community, to do something, to save the millions of people, who are civilians, who did nothing, on the 7th of October.

Hamas carried the war crime. And Hamas should be held accountable for it, not the civilian population.

COLLINS: Rula Jebreal, as always, thank you, for your perspective, tonight.

JEBREAL: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, I'll speak live, with the family, of one hostage, who is being held, a female hostage. There's hope potentially that she could be in that group of 50. We are now hours away, from the first group, being released, by Hamas. We are following it very closely.

Back in just a moment, here on CNN.